I went to the Chestnut Hill location, for the second time, around 5:30 on Thursday. There was a line out the door by around 6.
I ordered a mix of traditional and creative dishes. As an appetizer I ordered the toro tata (about $20), which was a disaster. A pleasantly suprising amount of delicious toro was placed in a salty soup of soy sauce (maybe 2 inches thick?), with a citrus tinge, on a bed of ice in a fancy glass contraption.
In every introduction to sushi the author admonishes the diner against dunking her sushi in soy sauce for too long. It is unfathomable that the chefs think this a good idea. This dish tasted like soy sauce and citrus--it was disgustingly salty. There was some caviar on top of the toro, but I never was able to taste it. I'm reminded of the last time I went, and ordered a duck egg "shooter." I expected mostly duck egg and a hint of soy sauce and hot sauce, and instead was served a soy sauce drink with a hint of duck egg. It also was terrible. In this instance the chefs add insult to injury by chilling it all. So bizarre.
Next I ordered a torched hamachi roll with black caviar (about $15). This roll tasted predominantly of mayonnaise, despite the fact that the menu give no hints that mayonnaise would be included. Toward the end of this roll I trained my brain to ignore the strong mayonnaise taste, and I thought the torched hamachi and caviar tasted nice together. Still I wouldn't order this roll if it were $1.
Next came the "sashimi deluxe" (~$35). Thankfully, this was fantastic. These were the freshest and most delectable chunks of fish I've ever had, and they were big chunks too. My only complaint is the chefs' tendency toward heavy-handedness. The whitefish was intertwined with thin slices of lemon, peel and all, which I take it were meant to be eaten together. I think not. The shrimp, I thought, had too much vinegar. Still, the fish was wonderfully fresh--even regular tuna was a revelation, and the yellowtail was exquisite.
I decided to order two more rolls--a caterpillar roll (basically eel with avocado) and a rainbow roll (all sorts of fish). I thought the former was excellent, and the latter fairly average--in a roll this complicated the nuances of the fish are drowned out.
With sake and tip (for wonderful service I should add), my bill came to $121. Geez! I'm not sure how I feel about that. I actually thought the prices were reasonable for the quality and quantity of fish, but I feel that about $50 of it went to items that I would rather have not eaten. Caveat emptor. If I go again, and I'm sure I will, I'll stick to the traditional basics and avoid the alluring creations.